I Hate the National Honor Society
You know the National Honor Society? That special invitation-only group that all students want on their college application?
Well, I hate the National Honor Society.
With or without a citation from the NHS, my daughter has done great. She's going to Yale. She's a National Merit Finalist. Every year, she raises her own money to go to South America to build houses, and she spends every night during the week—as well as every weekend—as a stage manager for her school's theater group. It's a huge job, and it pretty much ate up her life in high school, and she still managed to graduate with a 4.3 grade-point average.
Despite all this, my daughter didn't qualify to be an NHS member because she didn't participate in three after-school activities; she only did one.
Nobody told us about this requirement when she was a sophomore or a junior. And I'm sort of glad. Because if she'd known, she might have done fewer things that really mattered—the things that helped her become the really amazing person she is today—just to get into the NHS. What about the kids who work? Or who have after-school family obligations? What's wrong with a culture that rewards a kid for doing three jobs—even if they're all half-assed—rather than for doing one job amazingly well? How valid is an organization that makes that limit absolute and unchangeable, with no process for exceptions or appeals?
Not being accepted into the NHS is a slap in the face to all the kids who do achieve a lot but don't meet the organization's arbitrary and inflexible rules. Believe me, my daughter wasn't alone. I know another kid in her school who also wasn't allowed to join, and she's more of an overachiever than my daughter!
Where's the fairness in that? What good is the NHS at all? And why should colleges pay any attention to those three meaningless letters on an application?